Development of a prompt-gamma, neutron-activation analysis facility at the Texas A&M University Nuclear Science Center
Inyang, Otu Effiong
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A prompt-gamma, neutron-activation analysis facility earlier developed at the Nuclear Science Center of Texas A&M University could not be used successfully to analyze geologic samples due to high detection background, low neutron fluence rate and poor detection equipment . A systematic investigation into the performance capability of a prompt-gamma, neutron activation analysis facility was undertaken in this research project. The facility was reconstructed and used to obtain prompt-gamma spectra of chlorine and cadmium and from the spectra, the net peak area counts for the most intense prompt-gamma-ray energies were obtained. A theoretical model was developed which can predict the net peak area counts expected on these prompt-gamma-ray energies using the thermal neutron fluence rate at the sample position, the absolute efficiency of the detector, and the mass and partial gamma-ray production cross section data for the samples. The experimental and predicted results were compared to establish the performance capability of the reconstructed facility. Good agreements between experimental and predicted results were obtained for chlorine, but results from cadmium showed larger discrepancies due to self-shielding effects. Corrections for self-shielding effects were applied to results from cadmium and the experimental and predicted results were also in good agreement. The satisfactory results indicate that it is possible to implement the prompt-gamma, neutron-activation analysis technique at Beam Port #1 of the Nuclear Science Center Reactor. To be able to obtain excellent results from other samples, improvements in shielding materials to attain a lower detection background and a highly efficient detection system should be incorporated.